I was going to stay out of this one, but the aftermath got too messy to ignore. It was widely reported last week that one of FOX’s most important summer tentpoles got some premature morning wood on April Fools’ Day when a nearly complete workprint of Wolverine apparently heard the call of the wild and escaped online. If you wonder what kind of gaping internal security
assholes might facilitate or encourage such a leak, look no further than ex-FOX critic Roger Friedman.
Since Friedman’s lead paragraph pullquote for ‘Australia’ last year was “no one who made it has anything to be embarrassed about,” maybe he had good reason to think he wouldn’t be invited to a screening of Wolverine. So he reviewed the downloaded bootleg! And instantly got fired for what FOX calls “a blatant promotion of piracy.‚Äù Arr, matey, such irony, such prosaic justice, such schadenfriedman!
The offending review has been expurgated (something FOX news does all the time, whenever they want to rewrite history), but not before lots of people like Brad Brevett at Ropes of Silicon saved parts of it to rub Roger’s nose in:
I did find the whole top 10 [movies in theaters], plus TV shows, commercials, videos, everything, all streaming away. It took really less than seconds to start playing it all right onto my computer. I could have downloaded all of it but really, who has the time or the room? Later tonight I may finally catch up with Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man. It‚Äôs so much easier than going out in the rain!
And much cheaper too! Which is handy when you’re unemployed.
Last week The Guardian UK reported:
Fox has tried to discourage fans from viewing the movie by disparaging the quality of the pirate release ‚Äì describing it in a statement as “incomplete and early” ‚Äì and by threatening to prosecute websites that posted it. The version that made its way around the internet was missing special effects and several scenes, and included what Fox called “temporary sound and music.”
Others sources say FOX also tried to tell people that the downloaded film contained a virus (remember the jitters about conflicker?) — because why waste an opportunity to take an honorable stand on anything, when it’s so easy to taint it up with a lie?
Within minutes somebody on IMDb had whipped up a conspiracy theory. Maybe FOX leaked the work print intentionally, so when the movie tanks they’ll have an excuse for shareholders: teh internetz & libruls ate my homework.
The Gawker looks at the bigger picture:
Fox says Friedman shouldn’t have broken the law in the service of a story. But the company’s concern with journalistic ethics seems as suspicious as it is sudden. After all, Fox News’ Shep Smith wasn’t fired when he was arrested for running over a competing reporter with his car so he could snag parking space.
When Bill O’Reilly’s former producer accused the Fox News host of sexual harassment, producing lengthy conversation transcripts O’Reilly never denied, sibling publication the New York Post slammed her in a story headlined “‘Lunatic’ O’Reilly Gal Went Nuts in Bar.” O’Reilly settled the suit and, of course, retains his job.
And Fox is unrepentant about stalking a liberal blogger, sending a camera crew to tail her from her apartment across state lines to Virginia.
Totally unrelated and irrelevent incidents, you say? Maybe. Unless you believe in Karma.